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3D Printing Used to Leverage Custom Tag Shapes

3D Printing Used to Leverage Custom Tag Shapes


I have recently been able to use 3D printing in order to design and make custom transmitter shapes. The implications of being able to successfully do this, means that Sigma Eight can do innovative shapes and attachments with low research and development costs. Since there are now very powerful free 3D CAD programs, it is possible for you to design and send us a desired shape, or we can design it for you. Having access to a printer that can print in a resolution on the order of 30 micrometers makes it possible to get very small details in the part as well.

In this experiment, there was three main stages to producing a new transmitter, the revised TX-PSC-E-400-T.

Stage 1: Design

I started off by setting some parameters for myself, which was having a transmitter with mounting tubes, a sturdy antenna and body, last for at least a year under standard coded emission, and most importantly, being under 8.00g. The weight limit proved to be quite a challenge, as the corresponding amount I could dedicate to the encapsulate was small. Having small margins to work with for encapsulation and labeling made 3D printing a very desirable option, as it could make the shape as tight to the transmitter as possible, while providing adequate protection.

To the drawing board!

The TX-PSC-E-400-T prototype design.

Using the CAD program, it helped create curved corners to keep the tag smooth, while filleting the end to conserve material.

Stage 2: Printing and Reproduction Phase

I got a 3D print done, and was able to produce a positive for the mould. Using this and some exclusive Sigma Eight Magic™, I was able to reproduce the CAD concept.

Stage 3: Final Product

Side by side comparison of the 3D printed part, and the final product.

Finally, after much revision and modification, I was able to get the transmitter to come in just under 8.00g. The large surface area on the back allows for the weight to be distributed evenly, not creating any irritation or pressure points, while the strong encapsulation material waterproofs and protects the transmitter. A fully black transmitter also means it will not reflect any light, preventing any increase in predation as well.